Bob Helmholdt—Trooper for Liberty!


The Foundation for Economic Education (FEE) is blessed with many close friends and faithful supporters around the U.S. and abroad. Some of them go back decades with us and are among our most cherished partners. One of them I want you to know is an orthodontist from Ft. Lauderdale, Florida—Dr. Robert D. Helmholdt.

Plenty of people shy away from the docs who place “braces” on teeth.  But I’d gladly value and enjoy the treatment just to be in Bob’s presence.  He’s that friendly and engaging!

Maybe I exaggerate a bit, but I’m sure I am not understating the sterling, avuncular personality of this humble trooper for liberty.  Both because of the teeth he’s worked on and the minds he has opened, many people in the Ft Lauderdale area are smiling today.

Bob grew up in abject poverty, but as he puts it,“It didn't take me long to realize that there was an economic system in place that allowed me to rise to whatever level my study, hard work, responsibility, frugality, and God-given talents would allow.  And, of course, the most important ingredient in that economic system was freedom!”

I first heard Bob Helmholdt’s name decades ago, from my late mentor and long-time Grove City College economist (and former FEE president), Dr. Hans F. Sennholz. Hans and his wife Mary, who turns 100 in November 2013, were close friends of Bob and Margie Helmholdt. Hans often spoke to audiences in Florida that Bob had organized, sponsored or arranged to put him in front of. Those Sennholz speeches were just one of endless ways in which Bob has acquainted people with the ideas of free markets, private property, and personal responsibility over the years. He has distributed literature (much of it from FEE) by the boatloads.

Bob’s philanthropic work as a board member and President of the Lou Church Educational Foundation has benefited FEE hugely. Grants from the Foundation’s board have supported hundreds of scholarships for high school and college students to attend FEE seminars. Early this year, a generous additional gift made possible an all-day Saturday FEE seminar in Ft. Lauderdale, attended by 65 parents and students.

Why does Bob Helmholdt support FEE? In his own words, “Because those before me had helped preserve that system of freedom to my advantage, it therefore has become incumbent upon me to help preserve and promote that same free market economic system, so that those of the same ilk that came after me, have the same opportunity to become as unequal as I've had the opportunity to become. FEE has become very important to me as a vehicle to enhance my deep beliefs in freedom, and help carry out my mission to have freedom be available to future generations. FEE is among the longest lasting and most prestigious entities promoting liberty, with a legacy and heritage that is unequaled. It promotes freedom as one of the deepest and noblest aspirations of the human spirit.”

Bob is a recognized community leader in Ft. Lauderdale and Broward County, having held the position of president of many local organizations:   Chamber of Commerce,  Rotary Club, Dental Association, Executive’s Association, Broward Citizen’s Committee, Wilton Manors Business Association, and the Tower Forum.   He enjoys tennis, skiing and cycling with his wife Margie, daughter Maggie Joy and son Ryan.

We salute you, Bob Helmholdt! Thank so much for your many years of support for FEE and liberty and for your decades of fruitful service to so many good causes!



Lawrence W. (“Larry”) Reed became president of FEE in 2008 after serving as chairman of its board of trustees in the 1990s and both writing and speaking for FEE since the late 1970s. Prior to becoming FEE’s president, he served for 20 years as president of the Mackinac Center for Public Policy in Midland, Michigan. He also taught economics full-time from 1977 to 1984 at Northwood University in Michigan and chaired its department of economics from 1982 to 1984.


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July/August 2014

The United States' corporate tax burden is the highest in the world, but innovators will always find a way to duck away from Uncle Sam's reach. Doug Bandow explains how those with the means are renouncing their citizenship in increasing numbers, while J. Dayne Girard describes the innovative use of freeports to shield wealth from the myriad taxes and duties imposed on it as it moves around the world. Of course the politicians brand all of these people unpatriotic, hoping you won't think too hard about the difference between the usual crony-capitalist suspects and the global creative elite that have done so much to improve our lives. In a special tech section, Joseph Diedrich, Thomas Bogle, and Matthew McCaffrey look at various ways these innovators add value to our lives--even in ways they probably never expected.
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